Doing it on my own. With your help.

07.13.11 | Comment?

After a few years of on and off trying to get someone to publish CONDUIT, I have decided it’s foolish to sit around sending letters to other people (agents or editors) in hopes of catching them on a good day. Not only that, but after managing to capture their attention on this good day, spurring them on to putting their reputation at risk championing an unknown writer of speculative fiction all the way to publication. Or I could turn to someone with no reputation to risk in the publishing world. In this case, the poor sap who is getting the job of publicizing my writing is me (and doubtlessly Shaina as well).

Lots and lots (and even a few more after that) of words can be found online speaking both for and against the ‘self-published novel’. The old-school publishers use expressions like ‘vanity press’ and ‘scam printing’. Maybe not the second one, but the publishing establishment’s opinion of the author-controlled printing is clear as the proverbial bell. Would be authors are told with great solemnity that going the self-published route is the death of  their dreams of ever getting picked up by a big house. An obedient wanna-be sends out letters after hours of research into the exact right agents and or editors who the discount them in the least personal way that particular person knows how (via form letter or silence).

These rejectors don’t do it that way because they are mean, but because they are human. Delivering a constant stream of no I can’t help you see your dream fulfilled would be nigh on impossible if you allowed yourself to think about it. An overlooked author can get caught up in imagining these gatekeepers as sitting in fancy offices high above the city, snorting missives as they hit send on another rejection. That may be a bit on the unhealthy side.

But why do these giant publishing houses want to keep this highly impersonal and inefficient system running? Because it’s the only one where they are the most powerful entity. In a self-publishing world, the content becomes diluted and dispersed. Profit margins drop to minimal levels. Authors who are way too close to their work suddenly decide that it is good enough to print, and do so without the say so of someone else. And if your business is being that someone else, you’d want to protect it, too. Business is as business always has been: mostly for itself. Being decidedly not good for the big publishers, of course they don’t want sel-pub to become the preferred method. They took to the smearing of the concept about 5 seconds before anyone tried to make it happen and never really stopped.

Their smear tactics worked on me. Mostly because a couple of their major points are true: self-pub means you have to do all your own advertising and you’re not going to make any money if you don’t move lots of units. It’s in the second statement that the evil magic hides. When BigPub says to TinAuth ‘you’re not going to make any money if you don’t…’ they allow the statement to go into TinAuth’s head as ‘while with us you’ll move tons of units and get big pay!’

With that little nugget rolling around in an Author’s head, the author sits and plays the waiting game. Effectively eliminated from diluting the pool any more than it already is. Never mind that even if Author is the ball that rolls down the shoot (BINGO!) it will be two years still till his book is published where it will sit in a back catalog, deemed a failure and Author tossed out on his head. (Dramatic re-enactment.) The self pub game is a hard one to win, for sure, but it only requires you to win once.

Thus, the adventure begins. CONDUIT is coming soon. If you’re reading this, I hope you’ll want to help me get the word out about it. And buy a hundred copies for all your friends and family.